Unanswered   1 comment

“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves. Do not now seek the answers which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them and the point is to live everything. Live the questions now.  Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer” Rainer Maria Rilke

From first grade everyone knows the goal is to find answers, and failing to find the right answer is the great failure.  Far more anguish comes from this sense of unsatisfied obligation than from not knowing.  Rilke’s quotation suggests that if I cannot find the answers, it is not my fault, that too earnestly looking for the answer may be irresponsible.  This perspective might give me relief if I could live in the faith that answers are gifts rather than the reward of sweat and tears, that questions are themselves answers in their own right and not just blanks that need filling in.

But without answers, how does one know how to live, make decisions, respond to the world on a daily basis?  Are today’s choices simply made at random, haphazardly, without basis?  That is to say, if I get no answers, am I to assume that all (reasonable) paths are equal, that each will work out comparably well?  In particular, what job do I try to land when my future is so open-ended?  How much effort do I put into each direction?  Or do I just sit at home till I get an answer?  What does it mean to “live the question”?

Perhaps the questions drive me back to listening more carefully to my own heart… but then am I not looking for answers again, just answers for different questions?  Confusion.  Confusion is a terrible place to live.  Why is it so hard for me there?  Life feels much safer if I have some control over it, but I cannot steer if I am blind.  One might appeal to the thrill of adventure into the unknown, but rollercoasters are only exciting as long as they are firmly set on rails.  The one who has been in a disastrous wreck, as I was in Calcutta, can feel only terror in uncertainty.  Questions are incomparably harder to live than answers… any answers.


Posted April 28, 2010 by janathangrace in Uncategorized

One response to “Unanswered

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  1. Ordered, organized, logical people have serious problems when I say that both sides of issues may be true. It is true that we must work hard to change things, yet it is also true that we must accept what comes to us in life. It is true that when you push on a door and it opens easily and readily, you should walk through. It is also true that you should examine each step carefully before taking it. It is also true that we must leap off into the darkness, not knowing what lies there. It is also true that we must live responsibly and not take unnecessary risks. I think that if you can decide what you really love, what opens up your heart with a deep sense of contentment, or joy, or satisfaction – then if you move in that direction you can’t go wrong.It is also true that just because we move in one direction does not mean we should continue in that direction. It could be more like: “go this way” and then two steps later “ok now go that way”!!So I don’t look for a roadmap to follow as much as making the best choice, as far as I can understand it, for this moment and then the next moment make the best choice for that moment. The darkness may surround me, but I am only looking for where to place my next step, not for where the steps may take me.It helps to have friends along for the ride to keep me company!loveme

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